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New Programs Ready to Launch

I have been busy developing new topics for speaking and workshops, and they are finally ready.  They are all topics I have worked with at length and am excited to have them ready for this new format!!

 

1.  Creative Retirement

Too often in life we work hard to find enough money, but spend very little time playing with the idea that we may not need the money to make it happen.  I have seen some amazing results by shifting from “How can I afford this?” to “How can I make this happen?”  Creative solutions to normal problems not only make life more fun, they also allow you to spend more time, energy on the things that matter to you.  (This topic comes with lots of fun real life examples).

 

2.  Automate and simplify your cash flow

Budgeting is built as an on going effort that for too many fails.  I believe that your money should work by default, not through long spreadsheets.  I believe your life, once set up should be automatic as it moves you closer to the life that fits best with you

This program will discuss;

Creating a life that speaks to you.

Automating your money, so it keeps working even when you aren’t watching.

Solutions to the common “unfair” spending with couples

 

  3.  Tackling your debt and taking your life back

Debt can be a useful tool, however it can also quickly get out of control.  Here we discuss organizing your debt so you can tackle it in the most effective manor, different alternatives to debt repayment and how to stay free of the debt trap once you arrive.

 

4.  Aligning you money to create an amazing life

A theme in all my work is creating a financial foundation that allows you to live an amazing life.  This topic focuses on the power this has in your life and simple tools anyone can use to create a life that speaks to who they are.

Conversations About Money Blog

This blog has simple solutions anyone can use to create a financial foundation that will support their desired life.  Not sure what you want from life?  This will be discussed here as well.  No products, no sales, just simple solutions.

Check it out at www.conversationsaboutmoney.com

Simple Wealth Creation

Sitting with people and hearing their stories, reading many books on wealth creation, it seems creating wealth is simple.  Many high net worth people have average incomes, and a great lifestyle.  The story seems to always be the same, saved money while quickly paying down their mortgage and avoid other debt.  It never seems to take very long for things to really start to grow for them.

It always amazes me how common this story is how simple it is and yet how hard it is for many to get there.  I guess it is no surprise with all the marketing to buy, the need to keep up and maintain an image, and the general desire for stuff.  The most ironic part is that for those who wait to get what they want, life has more for them and it is much easier to get what we want.

Why Review Your Insurance?

Too often reviewing your current insurance coverage is left too long, so why is it important?  Often in reviewing a new client’s existing coverage we discover cost savings, errors and that the coverage no longer fits their situation.  I have included a few examples below.

  1. On Life insurance it is important to make sure you beneficiary is correct, and the name is right.  Often the name changes due to marriage and the policies are never updated.
  2. Is a term about to increase?  It is common to see a term insurance policy (Critical Illness or Life) that has renewed and is now costing more than the client needs to pay.  Know when your term is due and look into changing the term 2 years before it is due.
  3. How many policies do you have?  Often people have a life insurance policy, a policy at the bank and insurance on the credit card.  Often the policies at the bank and credit cards are expensive and not always to be trusted (read the fine print). Many times people do not even realize they are paying monthly for insurance on the credit card.  Reviewing to make sure you had a policy that fits you is important.
  4. Does your insurance still make sense for your current situation?  Life changes fast.

These are only a couple of the things that should be reviewed on an annual basis.  Being proactive with your finances is important, if you are not you will be?

This blog is referring to life insurance, Critical illness insurance, Disability insurance and long term care insurance.

The Unexpected is Predicable

I find that many who are in debt tell a similar story, “I was ok then I was hit by a couple unexpected expenses.” Personally I cannot remember a year in my adult life that unexpected expenses have not shown up, and this is excluding property tax or other annual expenses that often get lumped into the unexpected category.

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A simple tool to grow your Net Worth

Every month most of us receive a list of bills, payments taken from your account, a constant reminder of how much you owe, and the mountain of expenses most face each month.  This contrasts the positive statements we get, such as, investment statements, equity and value of your home, which are sent out quarterly or annually in most cases.  Taking the time to acknowledged and gauge your success is a simple and in many cases an amazingly effect way to not only visualize your success, but increasing your financial well being.

I recommend keeping at minimum an annual net worth statement.  This helps you see where you stand financially, and more importantly creates a map of your financial success.  This tool helps clearly layout your progress in building a solid financial future.  As your net worth grows it tends to motivate more success in the same direction.  I have seen great results from this simple tool.  You can follow this link to a simple template to create your own net worth statement, and remember to complete it every year, as this tends to create the best results.

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Adult Children and Parental Debt

By Bonnie Krisher

debtThe end of the email read “Thanks for your call and making me not feel bad for what we have to do.”  This is a direct quote from a gentleman in his mid-fifties needing help with his debt.  During our initial phone conversation, he told me that his children were grown and did not know that he and his wife were in financial trouble.  He didn’t want to worry them, and felt ashamed.  As a Debt Arbitrator, I can safely say that this is one of many conversations that I have had over the past seven years with individual’s middle aged and older.  This secrecy has been difficult to witness.  Older generations tend to consider debt as a reflection of them selves and personalize it, while more recent generations consider debt a problem in and of itself.

Fortunately, in the past couple of years we have noticed an increase in children who are calling in and asking for help on their parents behalf.  Perhaps this is a result of children paying more attention to what is going on with their parents, or, perhaps, parents are increasingly confiding in their children.  Either way this recent intermingling of two financially distinct generations is changing how people face hardship and debt.  Through advocacy, children are able to be more proactive and have a greater impact on the health and happiness of their parents.  Particularly, how their parents health and happiness is affected by financial stress. 

Studies have shown that stress is directly linked to health issues.  In fact, the stress associated with debt has been shown to be a significant factor in many areas of life including divorce, depression, suicide, criminal behaviour, and disease.  After several recent studies, the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy released this statement, “Ninety percent of disease is caused or complicated by stress. Cost-effective, scientifically proven solutions exist that can alleviate this enormous strain on our country’s human and financial resources.”

Furthermore, “Some of the leading conditions that cause the greatest health burden in this country — heart disease, stroke, cancer, and severe depression — are linked to stress, and to a large extent are preventable. Research has found that cardiac patients who learn to manage stress reduce their risk of having another heart attack or heart problem by 74%, which suggests that stress management is more effective than even exercise in preventing heart disease (The Congressional Caucus on Stress Prevention: Its Impact on Health and Medical Savings, Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy).”

As a debt arbitrator, I would like to make these recommendations.  Parents, recognize how your debt may be causing you stress and/or hardship, and reach out for help.  Your children will welcome the opportunity to work with you to overcome these obstacles.  They are young, very resourceful, and are likely to be much less judgmental than you imagine.  Overcoming a hardship as a family can often draw you closer together.  Your children want to give back to you, and, from my experience, want to help.  The vast majority of Canada is in debt with the average Canadian carrying $25,709.00 in debt.  It is an issue in and of itself.  Creditors are increasingly being held accountable for how they are causing consumers to be entrapped in an increasing cycle of debt.  This is evident in the new legislative changes that have clamped down on how creditors are doing business.  For instance, creditors are now required to obtain expressed consent for credit limit increases, to lower interest costs by mandating allocations of payments in favour of the consumer, and are prohibited from charging over-the-limit fees solely arising from holds placed by merchants (for a full list of regulations visit www.fin.gc.ca).

Children, pay attention to your parents financial situation and ask them questions.  If you sense that they are under stress then let them know that you want to help.  There is nothing more debilitating than feeling alone and isolated.  Reassure them that this can happen to anyone (and believe me, I have represented all demographics).  Finally, do your homework.  I will start you off with a few tips:

  1. Consider the options, there are typically four:  debt settlement/arbitration, credit counselling, debt consolidation, and bankruptcy/proposals.
  2. Call anyone else that may relate, such as a mortgage broker, financial planner, accountant, lawyer etc., as these people can be useful.  For example, if one of your parents has debt in their name only, and the other parent has their name on the assets (i.e. the house), and the law considers them separate entities, then one cannot be held accountable for the other.
  3. Do not give any information to the banks until your parents know how they plan to proceed.  This information is usually documented and can be used against them later on.
  4. Research the legislation.  It is typically easy to read and can even be found on line (verify the source of course).  There is the Debt Collections Act, and the Credit Reporting Act, to name a couple).
  5. Check out the Statute of limitations for debt collection in your province.  Did you know that in some provinces that if a creditor does not take a debt to court within 2 years, they can NEVER sue that person?  (this is not legal advice of course).  This is important if your parents are already delinquent and it is in collections.
  6. Make a list of the pros and cons for each of the four debt management options that I mentioned above.  Remember, that it must make sense.  If the company tells you that your parents are going to pay their debt in full, along with their fee, and end up with a damaged credit report, oh and they are non-profit because the creditors pay them, then perhaps this is not the best option.  Ask about how their fee is paid, what happens to your parent’s credit report, whether they share private financial information with the creditors, and what the consequences are if your parents decide to back out later on.  Finally, check the company’s credibility and read the small print in their contracts. 
  7. Call K&G Debt and Credit Professionals if you have any questions.  Trust me; we are a pillar of information.

 

The stress of debt can be inhumane, but families have a chance to use their humanity to overcome it.

Bonnie Krisher, CDA

K&G Debt and Credit Professionals

http://www.kgdebt.ca/home

Ph: (250) 871-6000

Interesting Parenting Book

Today I final got a copy of the book “Keys for Moms” by Kasia Rachfall.  It was a great read!  Of course being a father it was not directly targeted to me, but the content was relevant just the same.  I always like to read local works like this, as she is a Langley resident (although the book says Vancouver, must be for the international audience).

The book kept a simple format, introducing a concept, then describing the action steps to implement.  As a parent I have experienced the often overwhelming and drastic life change that comes with kids, and have heard from many other parents’ similar stories, this book is perfect for the adjusting or struggling parent.

I bought my copy from Amazon, although I think you can also order through the website at www.Freshperspectivecoach.com

RRSP to Pay Down Credit Cards

Often once you get behind on a credit card it is hard to catch back up at the often high interest rates.  In some circumstances an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) can help. If you are making a credit card payment each month at a high interest rate, it is often close to the payment required for an RRSP loan.  Let’s say you were at a 40% tax bracket, if you were to take a $10,000 RRSP loan, you would likely get $4,000 back in taxes.  You could use the $4,000 to pay off your credit card and the RRSP loan would usually be at a much lower interest rate.  Replacing a credit card payment with a payment on an investment and wiping out the credit card debt can be a good option.

The key to any plan that involves paying off credit cards, is keeping the credit card balance at zero.

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RRSP Deadline

The 2010 RRSP deadline is March 1 2011.  If you are planning to get an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) this year time is running out.